The Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment, has launched the Situational Analysis and Needs Assessment (SANA).
The report is a follow up to African ministers of health and ministers of environment commitment, through the Libreville Declaration in August 2008, to establish a strategic alliance between health and environment as a basis for joint plans of action.
The SANA Report is aimed at assessing the progress made by the country in the implementation of the Libreville Declaration, to identify country level actions required to accelerate the implementation of the Libreville Declaration, in addition to recommending the country’s health and environment priorities for accelerated investments with a view to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Launching the report, Tshekedi Khama, the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, said the interaction between human health and the environment has been extensively documented and environmental risks have been proven to significantly impact human health, either directly by exposing people to harmful agents, or indirectly, by disrupting life-sustaining ecosystems.
Khama said the SANA report is a testimony that in Botswana, as is the case elsewhere in Africa, health and environmental risks are significant and should be reduced. World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that thirteen million deaths annually are attributable to preventable environmental causes, and Batswana are not spared.
“The delivery of this Situational Analysis and Needs Assessment should help us focus on the common good for all of us as stakeholder partners,” he said. He added that the national action plans for implementation of the SANA should therefore have actions towards capturing and making available information on the health and environment interaction.
Khama noted that the inter-linkages between environment and health in the local context are extremely crucial to providing the government with indicators and signals for the design of efficient and sustainable economic policies.
“Some of the environmental problems in Botswana have a trans-boundary implication both in source and in sink. It is therefore critical to follow up on cooperation with other nations through implementation of Multi-Lateral Agreements,” he added.